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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, March 23rd (All times Eastern)

Columbus Blue Jackets (36-28-6) at New York Islanders (26-35-9), 1 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to rebound from their second loss in three games, as they aim to get their playoff push back on track in Sunday's road test against the New York Islanders.

Columbus enters Sunday with 78 points, leaving them one point out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Detroit and Washington are tied for the East's second wild card berth with 79 points, but the Red Wings hold the current tiebreaker due to having played two less games than the Capitals.

Detroit is in action today against Minnesota while the Caps are off until Tuesday.

The Blue Jackets were tied with the New York Rangers for third place in the Metropolitan Division heading into Friday's showdown versus the Blueshirts.

However, the Rangers claimed a 3-1 decision in the important battle for playoff positioning to grab a two-point lead over Columbus for the last of the division's three automatic bids to the postseason. The Rangers have since pushed that lead to four points after Saturday's win over New Jersey.

Nick Foligno scored the lone goal in Friday's setback, while Sergei Bobrovsky turned away 29 shots in the Blue Jackets' third loss in five games.

"Obviously, disappointed by the result. I thought our guys, under very tough circumstances, played a hard game," said Columbus head coach Todd Richards. "I thought they were physical, they stood up for each other. It wasn't easy. We were right in it all the way to the end."

The game marked Rick Nash's return to Columbus, as the star winger visited Nationwide Arena for the first time since being dealt to the Rangers nearly two years ago. Nash didn't register a point, but he fired seven shots on goal and also was involved in a memorable scrap with Bobrovsky.

Already showered with boos, Nash, who was selected first overall by Columbus in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, stoked the fans' ire even more late in the second period. The former face of the Blue Jackets drove hard to the crease and the puck went into the net after a collision with Bobrovsky at 17:06. The referee immediately waved off the goal, ruling Nash made incidental contact with the Columbus goalie.

Nash then got to his feet and incited a melee by punching Bobrovsky. Seeking retribution for him going after Bobrovsky, Matt Calvert engaged in fisticuffs with Nash at the start of the third period.

The Blue Jackets enter Sunday having won three straight on the road and the club is 17-15-3 as the visiting team this season.

Columbus has won four straight against the Islanders, including the first two of four encounters in 2013-14. The Metro Division rivals will complete their season series on April 6 in Columbus.

The Jackets also have won two straight on Long Island, although both of those victories came after regulation.

The Islanders are 18 points out of a playoff spot in the East and are playing out the string. New York is just 3-5-1 this month and has lost four of its last six games.

New York hasn't played since Tuesday when Matt Moulson and the visiting Minnesota Wild posted a 6-0 rout at Nassau Coliseum. Moulson scored two goals and added an assist against his former team.

Anders Nilsson gave up all six goals on 22 shots for the Islanders, who lost defenseman Brian Strait to a broken left hand in the second period. Strait will be sidelined indefinitely.

"Nothing is going to come easy for us," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We had some pretty good chances. It just seemed like when we gave them a chance, with the skill that they have, it was in the back of our net."

The Islanders also could be without leading scorer Kyle Okposo, fellow forward Michael Grabner and defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky on Sunday. Okposo, who leads New York with 69 points, is dealing with a lower-body injury, while Visnovsky is hampered by an upper-body issue. Both players are questionable for Sunday, while, Grabner expects to miss a fourth straight game with a concussion.

Of course, New York is also without star centerman John Tavares for the remainder of the season after he tore his knee playing for Team Canada at the Sochi Olympics.

"It takes me longer to read the injury report than is has at any other point since I've been here," Capuano said of his hobbled club. "I haven't seen anything like this in a while."

The Isles are just 10-18-8 at the Coliseum this season and are completing a four-game homestand this afternoon.

03/23 10:35:21 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
2nd
NYR 1
CAR 0
 
Final
TOR 118
NYK 108
Final
CLE 105
MEM 91
Final
MIA 100
BOS 84
 
Final
BRK 110
DET 105
 
4th
SAC 106
LAL 98
 
Final
ORL 88
PHI 96
 
Final
WAS 92
PHO 104
 
3rd
MIN 59
IND 65
 
3rd
OKC 70
NOP 70
 
Final
UVA 76
HARV 27
Final
BGU 68
FERST 82
 
Final
ARMY 72
MAINE 69
 
Final
QUIN 60
ORST 52
Final
CLST 69
USF 65
 
Final
CARK 55
CCAR 72
 
Final
UWGB 66
ARKLR 46
 
Final
RAD 74
CORN 61
 
Final
UNT 62
CREI 58
Final
CAN 67
HC 48
 
Final
USB 67
GHND 52
 
Final
OKST 64
MD 73
Final
WINT 100
REIN 72
 
Final
UGST 68
SMISS 55
Final
NEOM 77
TXPA 72
 
Final
STLU 58
VERM 55
 
Final
UNCA 62
WCU 66
 
Final
EVAN 81
ALAST 63
 
Final
HART 82
FIU 69
 
Final
VALPO 82
GOSHEN 55
 
Final
LIP 69
PEAY 63
 
Final
DEN 46
BRY 48
 
Final
MONT 62
SD 67
 
Final
MTST 65
TENST 47
Final
SAMF 64
LAMON 50
 
Final
SCAR 78
COKR 52
 
Final
HAMP 75
NARZ 66
 
Final
SDU 71
SDCHR 61
 
Final
BC 71
USC 75
 
Final
NICST 64
TROY 65
 
Final
BRAD 47
UCI 55
 
Final
UGA 65
SHU 47
Final
ALA 60
APP 59
 
2nd
KSU 48
NDST 48
 
2nd
WASU 62
SJST 40
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ALCOR
 
10:00pm Tonight
SEAT
SACST
 
2nd Intermission
DET 1
COL 1
 
3rd
EDM 5
DAL 5
 
2nd
BOS 1
BUF 2
 
2nd
NYR 1
CAR 0
 
2nd
CHI 2
TOR 0
 
9:00pm Tonight
WIN
PHI
Final
NOS 14
ATL 30
Final
HOU 25
BAL 13
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
Final
CHI 14
DET 20
Final
TAM 3
GBP 20
Final
PIT 20
KAN 12
Final
MIA 37
MIN 35
Final
NYJ 16
NEP 17
Final
STL 27
NYG 37
Final
OAK 26
BUF 24
Final
DAL 42
IND 7
1st
ARI 0
SEA 0